How to Have Good Posture

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Life and gravity destroy your posture- by the age of thirty many people battle to even walk upright.

In this article I will be explaining the fundamentals of good posture as well as some good posture tips.

To have good posture you must first understand some really basic anatomical principles.

Think about the body running in a series of vertical and horizontal planes. The obvious horizontal planes are the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles/ heels.

Stand in front of a mirror- are you shoulders aligned or is one hitched up or dropped? This can cause or be the result of neck problems.

Check the hips- if these don’t align there are a world of problems here. Easiest way to assess this is to see if the iliac crest on both sides are in a straight line. The iliac crest is that small bony bit that sticks out. Get a piece of elastic long enough to circle your hips, tie it and then move the knot to the back. Line the elastic on the top of the iliac crest on each side and the elastic should be parallel to the floor.

Knees should be level and pointing forward.

Ankles/Heels- and this is a big one.  A lot of problems start here and work their way up. One rolled heel has repercussions all the way up the body.

See the figure below to understand how the lines run and how the body can be so misaligned.

The vertical lines work on the same principle-things need to line up!

You should be able to drop a plumb line from your chin to your sternum.

This means the back of your head and shoulders should line up with the back of your heels.

Shoulders are always down and back- get them as far away from your earlobes as you can; keep them relaxed to take pressure off the neck.  Your shoulders are a ball and socket joint, very functional but prone to go wrong. Bear in mind the ball part, (the head of the humerus), needs to be able to move freely in the joint. It doesn’t work properly if it’s jammed up against the front of the socket.

When you have been alive for a long time, and ten years in a long time, life’s stresses and strains start to affect your body.

Use on one side starts to tighten and ultimately short the tendons on that dominant side.

Example – many people’s right shoulder is rolled forward from using a mouse. This means they tilt their head slightly to the right and the neck is curved in a direction it shouldn’t be. This interferes with normal muscle function as some muscles will be constantly activated and others doing things they really shouldn’t be.

This sets up a whole chain of events that can lead to headaches, decreased oxygen supply to the brain-you wake up foggy, can’t think clearly and can’t sleep properly.

Regular stretching can go part of the way to address these issues.  Pilates is designed to help correct imbalance issues.  Coupled with regular visits to allied health professionals like a chiropractor or osteopath- the worst effects of life can be kept at bay.

Hopefully you took some good posture tips from this article that you can apply straight away.

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By Felicity Neale.

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